22 Thanks for 2022

December 22, 2022

Family disclaimer. I don’t hate my kids. There are tons of things I am proud of them for. I want to be cautious about sharing too much about them online.

#1 The Glennville Methodist Church. I love the church I serve. We have had an amazing year of revival. The leaders, the staff, and spiritual depth continue to bless me.

#2 The enneagram. I know, I know, I was one of those people who could not stand the enneagram and people talking about it like it was the second coming of Christ. Yet, I went back the The Enneagram Type 3: The Successful Achiever by Beth McCord. Something about me was more open to what the Ennegram revealed about me. 

#3 The church I serve is aligning to a new denomination. Right now hundreds of Methodists are realigning into new denominations. I am grateful my church did the hard work of figuring out where they needed to be and took the steps to get there.

#4 Pokémon. One of my children really got into playing the card game Pokémon. I never played it growing up but I have really enjoyed learning something new. I am fairly certain we do not play it exactly right because we make up some unique house rules sometimes.

#5 The transitional leadership council of the Global Methodist Church. Until our convening conference there is a group of leaders from all over the world piloting the new denomination. We are fortunate to have Rev. Jay Hanson from South Georgia on this team. I also was able to reach out and talk to Rev. Dr. Hidde-Gregoy and Rev. Jessica LaGrone. Both were very passionate about their work on the team and gracious enough to take some time to talk with me.

#6 Recognized as an elder in the Global Methodist Church. Once my church officially became a member of the GMC I was recognized as an elder in the denomination. During worship the church recognized my new status. I even wrote a liturgy you can use if this happens to you. While I am recognized as an elder I still will be ordained by a GMC bishop in 2023

On our first day in the Global Methodist Church my church recognized our accomplishments.

#7 I ran a half marathon. Well actually I ran a 10k on New Year’s day then in March I ran a half marathon. It was even sweeter to run with my father.

#8 NYC trip for my wife’s big birthday. My wife had a milestone birthday. We took a family trip to New York City for the occasion. It also was the first time my children went flying.

#9 Mackinac Island to visit my sister. My sister has worked several summers on Mackinac Island, MI. We went on our second family flying trip to visit my sister.

#10 Last Annual Conference with my South Georgia United Methodist Friends. I will truly miss getting to see everyone in my old company each summer. It was great to have one last time for us all to be together. While I have not been perfect I hope I have modeled how to leave with grace.

#11 Deep Dive Coaching with Brian Russell. Brian’s professional coaching has continued to add a ton of value to my relationship with God, family, and career. I am excited to be hosting him in 2023 for a prayer conference at my church

#12 Doctor of Ministry Program. I am now closer to the end than the beginning. I am very grateful for Asbury Theological seminary and all my friends in the cohort with me.

#13 Birthday trip with my mom. As a child I was all about the Buccaneers. I had not been to a game since high school. For my mom’s birthday I took her to see Tom Brady before he retires.

#14 Family Cruise. We were grateful to go on a cruise over fall break. The kids loved it. I may have gotten leg cramps from trying to take the stairs only.

#15 Isle of Hope River of Life. In 2020 I was scheduled to speak at the Isle of Hope River of Life Youth conference… but something happened globally. This past summer I was finally able to speak there for four nights. It was a great time.

#16 Visits with Friends. I continue to be encouraged by a group of pastors that I meet with annually. A couple of visits that stand out were lifting weights with my buddy Ben and getting to hear my friend Jack preach at his church.

Ben and I lifting all the weight we can, in all the ways we can, for as long as we can.
Jack being hidden behind the cross

#17 Time with my wife. I love being able to get away with my wife. We had a couple of work trips that took us to Savannah and St. Simons. We also spent a couple of nights in Asheville, NC and Elberton, GA for some quick time away.

#18 Memorial Day Visit to my Grandparents grave. On Memorial Day we went to Anderson National Cemetery to visit the graves of my Granny and Grandpa. My grandpa was a WW2 B-29 tail gunner in the Pacific. It’s so meaningful to see the graves with the flags on them.

#19 Meeting Tara Beth Leach. I was so fortunate to run into one of the best preachers in North America at the New Room conference in Nashville, TN. Even better, she was very friendly and did an awesome job teaching.

#20 Spirit and Truth Weekend. I was blown away by a day of praying and learning at the Metter Methodist Church where they hosted the Spirit and Truth ministry team for several days of teaching on prayer. It once again showed me how powerful prayer is. 

#21 Sharing with others about Jesus. I am honored to serve the people in the Glennville Methodist Church. I was also blessed to be able to teach at several places outside of my church. I spoke at chapel services at two private schools, led devotion at a nursing home, the first gathering of South Georgia Global Methodists, and spoke at an FCA event. All these events were fun and I hope I added value to people’s walk with the Lord.

Hanging out with my former youth director, Wesley Marshall, at the Isaiah 43 Conference.

#22 Sandra McDowell’s 60th Birthday. This past year we celebrated my mother-in-law, Sandra Sikes, turning 60. Sadly, she died suddenly just a few weeks later. Grief is a hard and strange thing. It’s so hard to believe she is not coming back for the kids’ next performance or birthday. I am grateful we got to celebrate her milestone birthday even though we are still having a challenging holiday celebrating our first Christmas without her. 

Brandy with her mom and sisters.

One of the consistent and false attacks about the Global Methodist Church is that it’s not a real denomination or church. This has taken place in many easily refuted forms. There has been the repeated mantra “it’s only a website.” You can go to the South Georgia Conference of the Global Methodist Church and see we have an awesome website. We also have many churches representing thousands of faithful Methodists in South Georgia. You can also see our recent Isaiah 43 conference where we hosted hundreds of Methodist at Epworth by the Sea (a Methodist campground on St. Simons). There is also the false narrative we just want churches to join because of the money. Yet, churches can opt out of connectional giving for the first two years.

I’ve heard a new argument recently from multiple sources. It goes like this: the Global Methodist Church has not ratified their discipline. Let me be clear, the Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline has as much authority today as the book of Doctrine and Discipline will have after the convening conference. How? Because it has been ratified (given formal consent, made valid) by the Transitional Leadership Council. This can be easily seen on page three of the Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline:

“This Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline will only be effective once the Global Methodist Church is legally formed [this happened in May of 2022] and will provide governance until the time specified by the Global Methodist Church’s convening General Conference.”

One more definition for clarity’s sake. What is the Transitional Leadership Council? Here, again, from the Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline page 81.

“During the period of transition between the legal formation of the Global Methodist Church and the effective date of actions taken by the convening General Conference, the Transitional Leadership Council shall serve as the primary leadership body
of the church. As the most representative body other than the General Conference, it is charged with making all necessary decisions related to the forming of the Global Methodist Church.”

The Book of Doctrine and Discipline is in place and has authority. We have pensions with Wespath. We have health insurance. We have pastors getting credentialed. Most importantly, we have churches making disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.

We are a website and so much more.

This Sunday will be my first Sunday as an elder in the Global Methodist Church. My church will also be celebrating their first Sunday in the Global Methodist Church. This is an unofficial order I made for the occasion. At the conclusion of our service we will read through a Litany of New Beginnings/Renewal of Baptism and Membership by Rev. Dr. Tesia Mallory.

Friends and Family of ___________ Church, today we are happy to recognize that our pastor, ____________, has been appointed by the Global Methodist church to serve as our pastor.

_________ , you have been sent to live in our community as a shepherd for God’s Kingdom to help us hear the voice of God through the scriptures, our church tradition, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

As our pastor you are “responsible for ensuring that members are cared for by implementing a discipleship process focused on helping members to “go on to perfection” by loving God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and by loving their neighbor as themselves. [You] are charged with equipping all the members of a congregation to be in ministry by meeting people at their point of need and offering them Jesus.”1

Pastor __________, do you reaffirm your commitment to ministry to follow God and lead the _______________ Church?

Pastor: Today, I affirm my commitment to serve ____________ Church by God’s grace and to the best of my ability.

Church, do you affirm your commitment to support Pastor _________ as he/she guides us, by God’s grace, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.”2

If you do say we will.

Congregation: We will.

Church, today we are also happy to announce that Pastor _________ has been recognized as an elder in full connection with the Global Methodist Church.

“Elders are clergy members in full connection of the annual conference with full voice and vote on all matters.”3 

“Elders are ordained to oversee the Sacramental life of the church and thus have full authority to preside at celebrations of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.”4

“Those called to the ministry of elder bear authority and responsibility to proclaim God’s Word fearlessly, to teach God’s people faithfully, to administer the sacraments, and to order the life of the church so that it may be both faithful and fruitful.”5

__________ , we thank you for submitting your life to this calling in the Global Methodist Church. 

Church, we are going to ask pastor __________ to kneel at the altar and we ask those who wish to come forward, lay hands on _________ , and pray with us.

Father of grace, power, and calling, we thank you for all of the servant leaders we have had at Glen_____________ and the calling you have on his/her life.

God, would you pour out your blessing on him/her, Father, so that he/she may preach the good news to all people. Would you sustain him/her in the process of ministering to those in our community. Would you protect him/her, guide him/her, and lead him/her into a deeper relationship with you. May all of his/her ministry be an overflow of his/her ever deepening relationship with you. May we, as his community, support, encourage, correct, and guide him/her by your grace also, in Jesus name, Amen.

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1 The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 322 p. 29 (Ephesians 4:11-13).

2The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline preface page 2

3The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 410 page 57

4The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 313 page 26

5The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline Paragraph 403 page 51